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Elon Musk’s superfast SpaceX Starlink space internet hits 500,000 customers across UK and US

ELON Musk has tempted more than 500,000 customers into paying for his space-age Starlink internet service.

The SpaceX venture beams internet down to Earth from space using an ever-growing constellation of satellites.

Artist impression of a Starlink satellite dish


Artist impression of a Starlink satellite dishCredit: spacex

There are hundreds of Starlink units circling above Earth, and thousands more planned.

Musk’s SpaceX began offering Starlink to customers in select countries earlier this year.

And now SpaceX says it’s received more than 500,000 orders for Starlink, according to CNBC’s Michael Sheetz.

A single deposit costs $99/£89.

The dish connects to a huge constellation of hundreds of satellites


The dish connects to a huge constellation of hundreds of satellitesCredit: SpaceX

Sadly, the pre-order doesn’t guarantee service – which means the deposits are totally refundable.

But Musk reckons almost all of the pre-order customers will ultimately get service, despite the caveat.

“Only limitation is high density of users in urban areas,” said Elon Musk, in a tweet.

“Most likely, all of the initial 500k will receive service.

“More of a challenge when we get into the several million user range.”

SpaceX launches Starlink satellites in batches of 60


SpaceX launches Starlink satellites in batches of 60Credit: Getty Images – Getty

Musk intends to put 12,000 satellites into Earth’s orbit over next decade, possibly rising to 42,000 in future.

The “mega-constellation” will eventually be able to beam internet coverage to anywhere on the planet, according to SpaceX.

The California company says its network will provide users with high-speed, low-latency internet coverage.

Latency is the time it takes to send data from one point to the next.

Because Starlink sats are 60 times closer to Earth than most satellites, SpaceX’s WiFi latency is lower than traditional satellite internet.

The firm sends its satellites up in batches of 60 at a time and has deployed more than 1,400 into orbit since 2019.

They’re launched from Cape Carnaveral in Florida atop unmanned Falcon 9 rockets, which are also built by SpaceX.

Starlink is currently available to purchase, but it’s still technically in “beta” – a test version of the service.

Starlink starter boxes contain a special router and a satellite dish that users must affix to their homes


Starlink starter boxes contain a special router and a satellite dish that users must affix to their homesCredit: Reddit/Bybby4j

This is available in the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand and Germany, but it’s not yet cheaper than a typical broadband package.

The service costs $99/£89 a month on top of a $499/£439 fee for the router and dish.

Once set up, the dish connects to SpaceX’s satellite constellation, promising download speeds of up to 210 megabits per second (Mbps) in future.

That’s more than six times the average download speed in the UK, or faster than 95 per cent of US connections.

During beta, however, the service maxes out at 150 Mbps, according to SpaceX.

SpaceX is owned and operated by billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk


SpaceX is owned and operated by billionaire Tesla CEO Elon MuskCredit: Getty – Pool

“Users can expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mbps to 150Mb/s and latency from 20ms to 40ms in most locations over the next several months as we enhance the Starlink system,” SpaceX writes on its website.

“There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all.

“As we launch more satellites, install more ground stations and improve our networking software, data speed, latency and uptime will improve dramatically.”

The cost of the service is also expected to decrease over time, although SpaceX hasn’t revealed how much it hopes to charge users in future.

You can check availability for your location on by entering your service address.

If Starlink is not yet available in your area, you can place a deposit to hold your space in line for future service.

Science facts

Want to know more about the weird and wonderful world of science? From space and astronomy to the human body, we have you covered…

Stunning image of Comet Neowise shows Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite ‘photobombing’

In other news, SpaceX recently launched a spy satellite into orbit.

ESA researchers think they’ve spotted an angel on Mars.

And a satellite that can look inside buildings at any time of day has been launched.

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